I was reading today a on blog that I occasionally visit, the Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog, that Food First had an article up that mentioned urban farming, so I clicked on over to the article “What place for urban farmers in the International Year of Family Farming?” to read it.
Although the article focused on actual farms, rather than gardens like mine, and on the relative lack of focus on problems of urban farmers in the IYFF, it contained a quote that really shined a bright light on urban food production:
“…15 to 20 percent of the world’s food is produced through urban farming, involving an estimated 800 million people. Producing food in cities significantly reduces energy and resources needed for packaging, storage and transportation, and can recycle sewage and organic waste.“
It seems a not-unreasonable step to think that urban food gardening adds an additional non-trivial percentage of food and produces less waste and recycles more, even when taking into account the number of plastic bags involved in bringing most soil amendments home from the garden store. My experience is that home gardeners in general are great gleaners of their neighborhood yard waste that they then compost for use in the garden.
Today, I’ve made a small contribution to the future of the urban food total: I planted the tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants that I had started earlier this year. I have more plants than space in the garden, so some will be bumped up to the next size of pot, to have on hand in case anything damages the planted-out veggies in the next few weeks.
If it hadn’t started thundering and pouring down rain, I would have planted more seeds, too, but those can wait. Meanwhile out in the garden beds, the peas have begun to flower, the shallots are sending up seed-heads, and the Kennebec potatoes that I planted early also have begun to flower. The earliest-planted lettuces and the spinach are pretty much at peak flavor, and seedlings of beans, cucumbers, popcorn, and more radishes are popping up.
Right about now, when the days are getting warmer, the rain is working its magic, and the crops are promising to give us their all, is a totally wondrous moment in the garden. It amazes me that this shining instant in the farming and gardening year is such a practical time, too, in terms of the future of good food for us all.